Last updated: August 7, 2021

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A pond skimmer is all you need to clean your own pond. It allows you to always have clear water. In addition, you can avoid ice on your pond in winter through its movement and the supply of oxygen.

With our pond skimmer test 2021 we have analysed different models. We want to help you find the perfect pond skimmer for your pond. With this article, we give you various options for products, explain what advantages and disadvantages they have and answer the most frequently asked questions for the topic. So you don't have to worry and you can make the best decision.




The most important facts

  • Before you choose a product, you should know exactly what kind of pond you have. Every pond skimmer has a maximum output. Therefore, not only the size is important, but also the depth of the pond.
  • If you have fish or other animals in the pond, it is best to switch off the pond skimmer when feeding. The skimmer can suck in the food and this clogs the filters. This reduces the water quality.
  • Independent filters and pumps are important to ensure the best water quality. In addition, the use of timers helps to avoid long periods of inactivity from the skimmer.

The best pond skimmer: Our picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for pond skimmers

The perfect pond skimmer is different for everyone. Before we can recommend the best product for you, we need to look at the evaluation criteria.

When buying a pond skimmer, there are many factors that influence this decision. Among others, the following aspects are important:

Pond size

The main question when looking for a pond skimmer is: "How big is the pond surface?" This directly affects how many leaves and other debris particles can be in the pond and consequently the power required.

Many people do not pay attention to the performance of the pond skimmer and are then disappointed.

If you have come across our article, it may be that it is not your first pond skimmer and therefore you already have part of the system. In this case, it is important that you pay attention to the technical specifications of the pump and the other parts so that everything works harmoniously and well.

Most pond skimmers are built for ponds up to 50 m2. However, if you have a larger pond, it is best to use several skimmers or build your own skimmer system. For ponds larger than 50 m2 or with special shapes, a combination of different types of skimmers can be a good solution.

Pond depth

Not only the surface area of the pond, but also the depth influences the choice of the right pond skimmer.

Floating skimmers can adjust perfectly and automatically to different depths because they float on the water surface. On the other hand, standing skimmers, although adjustable in height, need to be adjusted manually.

While a floating skimmer allows an unlimited water level difference, the built-in skimmer and the standing skimmer are limited to a maximum of 120 mm.

The built-in skimmers are the least flexible in this respect, as it is very time-consuming to readjust them once they have been fixed.

Integrated pump

Here we have another very important aspect in the decision to buy a skimmer. After analysing the size and depth of the pond, you need to analyse whether you prefer an integrated solution or two separate devices.

A skimmer with an integrated pump can be the perfect alternative for those looking for a complete solution in a single product. These skimmers can be either a built-in skimmer or a floating skimmer. The floating skimmers suck the dirt from the surface, pump oxygen into the pond and also move on the water surface. In addition, they easily and automatically adjust to differences in the water level in the pond.

Attention! Even if you choose a skimmer with an integrated pump, you should install an additional pump and filter in the pond.

Installing an independent pump is important to avoid an imbalance in the pond's ecosystem, as the biological properties of the skimmer can easily be altered by switching it off and cleaning it.

Extra features

If you want to get the most out of a pond skimmer, you can choose models that offer a wider range of functions.

Some models are more than just leaf and surface item vacuum cleaners.

They offer the option of being used as aerators. They improve the oxygenation of the water and prevent the surface from freezing.

Other models have a fountain or built-in lighting, which makes them primarily decorative items.

There are also skimmers that have an additional bottom suction function. This avoids the build-up of organic material and improves the water quality.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a pond skimmer

You may still have a few questions about the topic. We have collected the most frequently asked questions and answered them to give you a good overview.

What is special about a pond skimmer and what advantages does it offer?

A skimmer is a necessary product to maintain the quality and transparency of the water in a pond. Without a pond skimmer, leaves and other debris fall onto the pond, sink to the bottom and begin to decompose in the water. This process increases the proliferation of microorganisms that reduce the oxygen in the water and make the water turbid.

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You can use a pond skimmer to keep the surface of your pond free of unwanted particles.
(Image source: David Clode / Unsplash)

The excess of dirt and mud can not only make the pond look unsightly, but also impair the function of the filters and cause biological destruction in this ecosystem.

The skimmer not only keeps the pond and water clean, but also makes it easier and simpler for you to remove the leaves and other dirt particles from the surface.

What are the different types of pond skimmers?

There are three main types of skimmers.

Each of these has advantages and disadvantages, making them better or worse for different applications. Choose the one with the most important advantage and least important disadvantages for you.

Floating skimmer

A floating skimmer with an integrated pump is the product that combines the most functions. It automatically adjusts to fluctuations in water level, pumps oxygen into the pond and lifts particles deposited on the pond bottom.
Cleaning the basket is not complicated. The skimmer can be easily removed from the water with a garden hook.

Advantages
  • Easy cleaning
  • Complete solution with integrated pump
  • More oxygen with the aeration function
  • Removes particles from the bottom with the grub function
  • Floats on the surface of the pond
  • Automatically adjusts to changes in water level.
Disadvantages
  • The basket is too small for leaves
  • Fairly high cleaning frequency
  • It can wobble and turn over a lot
  • Can be driven upwards in very shallow ponds

Standing or standing skimmer

A standing skimmer requires a little more effort, in addition to an extra pump, to ensure optimal operation. To install it, you need to create a flat surface at the bottom of the pond. This means that you have to enter the pond to carry out the necessary installation and maintenance. Nevertheless, it is the skimmer that allows the greatest flow of water to pass through.

Advantages
  • Is height adjustable
  • The longest warranty period
  • Is suitable for the highest pumping capacity (up to 20,000 litres per hour)
Disadvantages
  • The basket is too small for leaves
  • Does not have its own pump
  • Rather complicated cleaning process
  • Must be manually adjusted for water level differences

Built-in or edge skimmer

The built-in skimmer allows for the easiest cleaning and maintenance when installed in an easily accessible location. This type of skimmer has the largest basket capacity and is best suited to removing larger particles. This skimmer is ideal for those who have a pond in a location with many trees, as it is best suited to removing leaves from the surface.

Advantages
  • Creates larger surface areas
  • Good for leaves and large particles
  • Can be a complete solution with an integrated pump
  • Cleaning is easier and less frequented
Disadvantages
  • Low water level difference
  • Stays fixed in one place
  • Without a pump, the skimmer can be too light and needs to be fixed

Who are pond skimmers suitable for?

A pond skimmer is recommended for anyone with a passion for water and a pond at home. It can be used in ponds with or without fish or other animals.

If you have or want to build a pond, you know how important water quality is. For this, the water must be in motion and well supplied with oxygen. You can achieve this with a pond simmer. In addition, the movement and oxygen supply can prevent the water surface from freezing in winter.

What does a pond skimmer cost?

Due to the variety of models, types and performance offered, the price of a pond skimmer can vary greatly. The simplest models cost from around 45 euros, but require the installation of an additional pump. Although some manufacturers offer complete solutions for around 60 euros, these products offer generally lower quality and do not receive good reviews from customers. A good skimmer including pump costs from around 110 euros.

Although standing skimmers offer good value for money, they can become expensive options due to the need for an additional pump.

Built-in skimmers are the ones that generally have the best customer reviews. However, they are unfortunately the most expensive. A built-in skimmer without a pump costs around 190 euros.

Ideally, you need to use pumps and filters that are independent of the skimmer. An independent pump for skimmers without a pump or for skimmers that need additional pumps costs between 100 and 500 euros.

What is the alternative to a pond skimmer?

There are two alternatives for pond skimmers. Either with an integrated pump or with an external pump. You can find the most important details about each alternative in the following table.

Type Description
Pond skimmer with integrated pump In a pond skimmer with its own pump you have everything you need in a single and compact product. These are usually the models that float on the water or the built-in skimmers. They allow for easy maintenance.
Pond skimmers without an integrated pump A pond skimmer without an integrated pump must be connected to an external pump and is usually less flexible. Despite being more complicated to maintain, they offer the advantage that only one part needs to be replaced in case of defects.

These are the main alternatives offered by skimmer manufacturers and can be found in different types of products.

How often do I need to clean the pond skimmer?

A pond skimmer sucks the dirt, algae or foam from the surface of the water. All this is collected in a filter and container. The frequency of cleaning therefore depends on many factors.

A new pond skimmer or a pond skimmer with new filters naturally needs less cleaning than one with old filters. Since the pores of the filters are already somewhat clogged, the water flow is less.

The size and depth of the pond are also very important points. Many people do not pay attention to the performance of the pond skimmer or the size of the pond and are therefore disappointed with the cleaning frequency of the skimmer.

Can I also use a pond skimmer for the pool?

Using a pond skimmer for the pool is not ideal. With the pool you should not have kelp, fish and foam. Usually pools are only polluted by leaves and insects and for that a pond skimmer is unfortunately not a good solution.

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Each product is designed for a specific application. Using a skimmer incorrectly can affect its function and lifespan.
(Image source: Ethan Elisara / Unsplash)

For the pool, you already have the pump with a special strainer, different filters and mechanisms that work together. If you still need a skimmer, there are also special skimmers for pools. They are attached to the edges and are effective not only for leaves and insects, but also for hair.

Conclusion

With the help of a pond skimmer you can keep the surface of your pond free of unwanted leaves and other particles. The skimmer removes debris from the water surface before it sinks to the bottom and decays. This prevents the proliferation of bacteria and fungi and maintains the transparency of the water.

A floating pond skimmer with an integrated pump is flexible and offers good value for money as it is a complete solution in a single product. On the other hand, a built-in skimmer has the largest basket and is the most efficient for larger particles and leaves. The standing skimmer is the least visible as it works completely under water. However, this makes maintenance and cleaning more difficult.

Image source: Michaela Be/ 123rf.com

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